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World leaders return to U.N. with focus on pandemic, climate By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – The United Nations Headquarters is seen at the 75th U.N. General Assembly High-Level Debate. This is largely virtual due to the New York coronavirus (COVID-19), pandemic. It took place in New York on September 21st 2020. REUTERS/Mike

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – World leaders are returning to the United Nations in New York this week with a focus on boosting efforts to fight both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, which last year forced them to send video statements for the annual gathering.

The coronavirus is still in full swing amid an uneven vaccine rollout. About a third (33%) of 193 U.N. States plan to send again videos. However, the Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Foreign Ministers will be traveling to the United States.

Although the United States tried to discourage U.N. General Assembly leaders from traveling to New York, it was not enough to keep the U.N. General Assembly a “superpreader event.” However, Joe Biden will speak to the assembly personally. It is Biden’s first U.N. trip since his election. Anyone who comes into the U.N. General Assembly hall declares that they are immunized, although they need not show any proof.

The system will come to an end when Brazil becomes the first nation to speak. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has declared that the vaccine is unnecessary because he was already infected with COVID-19.

Should he change his mind, New York City has set up a van outside the United Nations for the week to supply free testing and free shots of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:) vaccine.

Antonio Guterres (UN Secretary-General) stated that discussions over how many diplomatic travelers might have been vaccinated showed the “disastrous inequality” today regarding vaccination. Guterres is calling for a worldwide plan to immunise 70% of the globe by next year’s first-half.

Of the 5.8 billion vaccines, only 2.2% were administered in Africa. Biden hosts a meeting with chief executives and leaders from Washington on Wednesday to discuss ways of increasing global vaccine distribution.

Biden’s U.S. COVID-19 concern about U.N. gathering will be demonstrated by his 24 hour stay in New York. He will meet with Guterres and make his first U.N. address Tuesday.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield (his U.N. Envoy) said that Biden will “speak to the top priorities of our country: Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic, Combating Climate Change…and defending democracy and international rules-based order.”

Because of the pandemic U.N. representatives are limited to a smaller number and many events will take place on the sidelines or in hybrid between virtual and in person. Afghanistan and Iran will also be topics ministers discuss over the course of this week.

Before the annual speeches start, Guterres will be joined by Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister. This summit is intended to save the U.N. Summit – which begins in Glasgow (Scotland) on October 31 – from being dissolved.

Scientists warn that global warming may be dangerously out of control. The U.N. COP26 conference aims for more ambitious climate action from international participants and to raise the funds to do so.

Guterres said last week that it was time for the world to ring the alarm. “We’re on the brink of disaster.”

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